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Help is available with free PTSD screening at BAFB

U.S. Air Force photo courtesy of BAFB
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 4:01pm

A free post-traumatic stress disorder screening will be available for Airmen, families and retirees at the Base Exchange June 20.

The screening is part of the "Military Pathways" program the result of joint efforts by the Department of Defense and the non-profit organization, "Screening for Mental Health,"
According to the Military Pathways website, the program is available online, over the phone, and at special events held at installations worldwide.

The event is being held to raise awareness of PTSD and encourage individuals to recognize and seek help if they are experiencing symptoms.

"Avoiding things that may remind you of the event, like conversations, places or people," said Capt. Michael Glotfelter, 2nd Medical Group clinical psychologist. "Feeling on edge, getting angry or irritated easily, trouble sleeping, or being easily startled or having trouble concentrating are some symptoms of PTSD."

While PTSD is closely related to veterans and servicemen and women, anyone who suffered a traumatic event can have PTSD.

"PTSD can occur after someone goes through, sees or learns about a traumatic event like combat, child, sexual or physical abuse, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, domestic violence or [the] sudden death of a loved one," Glotfelter said. "If you are experiencing any symptoms or impaired functioning related to trauma, it is important to get screened because there are treatment options and there is no need to suffer."

Capt. Glotfelter recommends that anyone who has experienced trauma get appropriate mental health treatment because maintaining mental health is just as important as physical health.

"A lot of people aren't getting [treatment] because they don't think they have [PTSD], said Airman 1st Class Lucy Baxter, 2nd Medical Group mental health technician. "People aren't as straightforward about mental health. Essentially, you're emotionally bleeding, and we're there to stop the blood."

With information available and by getting screened and seeking appropriate treatment, Airmen and their families can redefine PTSD so they can be proud, tough, strong and determined.

For a free anonymous PTSD screening, visit www.militarymentalhealth.org/hbhm.

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